“I gazed up at the sky. I was in a tiny boat, on a vast ocean. No wind, no waves, just me floating there. Adrift on the open sea.”

Haruki Murakami, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World


Mary I of England (image from Wikipedia)

My wife has an old history book from school, in which there’s a picture; yes that one over there, Mary Tudor, Mary I of England. Briefly Queen before Elizabeth I, both daughters of Henry VIII; her reign included an attempt to change the religion of the country back to Catholicism from her father’s Protestantism. Lots of people died and for this she earned the sobriquet ‘Bloody Mary’. Look at that splendid Tudor red rose in her hand. Lovely.

Bloody Mary also happens to be the spitting image of my brother-in-law when he was small. So, my wife in her usual haughty state decided that if her brother was part of the bloodline, which he clearly was, then so was she. She’s claimed Wales and the House of Llywelyn the Last in the name of his daughter, Gwenllian of Wales. Take it up with her.

Pictures in books do take you to some very odd places.